Halloween decorating ideas to get your home ready for spooky season

If you love Halloween but don't dig tacky skeletons and faux cobwebs, try these eerily elegant styling ideas instead...

A creepy mantlepiece featuring black garlands and pumpkins
(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

Halloween decorating ideas have taken off in a big way this year. We've already seen floating candles and pumpkin wreaths popping up all over Instagram.

Decorating for autumn and Halloween have become almost synonymous. Pumpkins, ghosts and warm rich russet colours are flooding the high street already to take our minds off the rapidly approaching longer dark nights. Now that we are entering September and PSL season we think it is finally acceptable to give your home a spooky makeover.

Whether you're looking for seasonal decorations for a subtle nod to the 31st October or are ready to embrace your inner witch with a full-blown spooky scene - we have it all. 

The best news is that decorating your home for Halloween doesn't have to be a huge drain on your finances. While you can choose to buy a few investment decorations you'll return to each year, sometimes all you need is some sheets of black card and a chalk pen to make a spooky statement. 

Halloween decorating ideas to delight

Halloween decorating ideas have come a long way since the simple plastic cauldron and skeleton days. No longer restricted to scaring your guests 'cosy Halloween embracing autumnal colours and pastel-coloured pumpkins have also taken off in a big way.

When planning your decorations always consider how long it will be up for and your existing home decor. For decorations that will be hung for a couple of weeks consider spooky soft furnishings that will take some wear and tear and not jar with your space. However, the decorations only need to scare the neighbours for a short period of time you can go wild with paper creations and glowing jack-o-lanterns.

1. Make your own spooky candles

A hallway decked out in Halloween decorations, including a skeleton and bat bunting

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

While we love pumpkin candles as much as the next person (who really loves pumpkin candles), there’s no doubt that they can be a little big and bulky when you’re planning an epic Halloween-themed dinner party for your family or friends. 

If you’re looking for something a little slimmer and a little more subtle, these bat dinner candles will still spook mere mortals. And while we love these from Ginger Ray, you could easily DIY these yourself if you fancy getting creative with the kids before the big day.

2. DIY a kooky neon sign

A white neon sign that says 'Booo'

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

Mixing a cool and unusual lighting option with Halloween decor? Sign us up! And we're not the only ones who think neon signs are going to dominate spooky season this year. 

‘Neon signs have been hugely popular over the last 18 months due to their vibrant, eye-catching and contemporary appearance, but Autumn has prompted a renewed interest,’ says a rep for The Range

And while you can buy a pre-made neon sign, you could also give it a go yourself. We love using this JIGUOOR Orange Neon Light Wire from Amazon to create our spooky Halloween signs, and we think you will, too. 

3. Reduce, re-use, re-spook

toilet roll tube halloween decorations

(Image credit: Duck Tape)

If you’re trying your hardest to be eco-friendly and cut costs at every corner, Halloween can be a challenge. But you don’t have to shell out a fortune on new decorations if you don’t want to. It’s super easy to make your own using materials you’d usually throw straight into the recycling bin - so why not reduce, re-use, and re-spook?

To make these toilet roll Halloween decorations, you’ll need Duck Tape (in black, green, orange, yellow, and white), cardboard toilet roll tubes, scissors, and googly eyes. Then, you can spread them out throughout the house, spooking your family at every corner.

4. Go chic, but make it creepy

A creepy mantlepiece featuring black garlands and pumpkins

(Image credit: The Range)

While it can be easy to fall head over heels for plastic Halloween decorations, this can often look tacky. If you’re looking for a chicer alternative for older kids or an adult-only home, there are so many ways to make your house look spooky but chic for Halloween.

‘Opt for arranging tapered iron-look candle stick holders of differing heights together with smaller ornaments such as glass pumpkin candles and ghost-shaped candles. Pull the look together with black and red roses or a gothic garland,’ says a rep from The Range.

5. Mummify your kitchen jars

A kilner jar wrapped in bandage to look like a mummy

(Image credit: Kilner)

At Ideal Home, we love a Kilner jar. There are so many ways to use a Kilner jar, and this has to be one of our favourite hacks yet. This Halloween decoration idea is perfect for those who have left the decorating to the last minute, as this DIY creation will take just a few minutes to make - and can be removed as soon as the spooky season is over. 

But more than anything, we love how this mummy jar can have so many uses. You could use it as a trick-or-treat jar, you could use it to store your homemade Halloween cookies, or you could fill it with lights! View the full step-by-step guide on how to make this at Kilner

6. Create a gothic tablescape

Black tablescape with black lace runner and candle sticks

(Image credit: Tableday)

If you're hosting a Halloween party your dining table should be the centrepiece. Embrace a grown-up spooky theme and fill your table with gothic details.

'Your dining table is the place you can really go to town on the spooky settings,' says Home entertaining and tablescaping expert Lucy Hood, founder of Tableday.co.uk. 'Bright orange and jet black are usually key colours, and with Hallowe’en it's all in the details, black faux flowers, velvet fabric pumpkins, black skull place settings, eerie test tube vases, black candle sticks, paper fake spiders and bats, and a gothic table runner which will really pull together any Halloween party look.'   

7. Swap cushions covers for creepier styles

Halloween skull cushion on sofa

(Image credit: Wilko)

One of the easiest ways to decorate your home for Halloween is to swap out your soft furnishings, especially cushions. ‘If you are a Halloween fanatic and will likely decorate your home every year, purchasing Halloween-themed bedding and cushion covers is a cost-effective way to transform your home, time after time,' says Leanne O’Malley home interior expert at Studio. 

'Plenty of Halloween-themed soft furnishings are available at an affordable price, or you can simply replace your current covers with ones that are orange or black in colour, which you may already have stored away in your linen closet.'

8. Cast a magical glow with fairy lights

Halloween Boo garland decorations

(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

Fairy lights aren't just for Christmas, they work a treat for creating a magical Halloween display. Nestle battery-powered fairy lights amongst pumpkins as a safer alternative to tea lights. We love them scattered over a mantlepiece idea and tumbling out of cauldrons for a witchy glow. 

'Take one-time measurements of your home so you know how many Halloween lights you'll need, there’s nothing worse than hanging some lights or decorations and realising they only cover half of the intended space!' recommends Paula Boston, Visual Merchandiser at Festive Lights.

9. Use a chalk-pen to create a cobweb window

Chalk cobweb on a window

(Image credit: Hello Ruth)

If you don't want to spend a lot on Halloween decorations, tracing a Halloween pattern onto your windows is a smart way to get in the festive spirit for a couple of pounds. This cobweb design was created by illustrator Hello Ruth. Simply download the free template, blue-tac it to the outside of the window and trace along the lines inside the window with a chalk pen. 

A single chalk pen should cost a couple of pounds from a local stationary store. Alternatively, you can pick up a pack of 6 Chalk Pens from Amazon for £11.95. When the festive season is over all you need is a damp cloth to wipe your design away. 

10. Decoupage pumpkins for a twist on a classic

pumpkins decorated with decoupage leaf prints on a wooden sideboard

(Image credit: Future/Dan Duchars)

If you don't want to face the mess of carving a pumpkin, one of the best no-carving pumpkin decorating ideas we've seen this year is decoupage. Double up on the Autumnal theme by collecting fallen leaves and using them to cover a pumpkin or two. 

Similar to painting a pumpkin, clean your pumpkin and coat it in a layer of PVA before layering on the leaves in your chosen design.  

11. Change things up with a silver scheme

Grey plush pumpkins in fireplace

(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

Orange and black might be traditional, however, for more sophisticated Halloween decorating ideas consider matching them to your existing colour scheme. Grey living room ideas will pair beautifully with a silver pumpkin display. 

Layer together plush pumpkins, ceramic versions and real pumpkins for a multi-textured effect. Hobbycraft's plush pumpkins are perfect for this, as are white 'ghost' pumpkins which you can pick up for around £3 at most supermarkets.

12. Create a balloon arch

Halloween black and white balloon arch against grey wall with bats and spiders

(Image credit: Ginger Ray/Very)

Make your Halloween party go with a bang (although not literally we hope) by creating a spooky balloon arch. Arrange a combination of black, white and silver balloons above a table laden with treats. Use a black marker to draw ghostly faces on the white balloons. Cut bats, spiders and webs from black paper and arrange among your display.

Want to learn more about making a DIY balloon arch? We show you how to create a balloon arch in simple easy steps.

13. Display an autumnal wreath

Halloween autumn door wreath with pumpkins

(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

Celebrate the season by adorning your door with a sophisticated autumnal wreath. Dress a grapevine wreath blank with leaves, berries and pinecones in warming red and orange tones. Attach mini velvet pumpkins for softness.

Use florist's wire or a glue gun to make sure components are securely attached. If you're worried about exposing your wreath to the elements, display inside on an internal door or as part of a table arrangement.

14. Dress the walls and windows with flying bats

Cardboard cut out bats on a white hallway wall

(Image credit: Amy Johnson)

Nothing bat crazy about this idea, it's genius! Savvy designer Amy Johnson, Twin Associates, shared this creative idea. The simple bats are made using light black card, Amy explained how she made them by 'folding each in half to cut symmetrically, doubling up the layers so you make more at once!'. Using white tack or Washi tape doubled over, simply secure the back of each bat, in the middle, to the wall at various heights – to create a flying motion.

You could also get crafty with window stickers to create this same effect - but they aren't just reserved for windows. Joanna Baumard, Co-Founder of Purlfrost says, 'A great activity for the whole family; let your imagination run wild and try them out on any smooth, non-porous surface including metal, plastics and laminates, painted and varnished woods, as well as walls.'

15. Stencil a pumpkin design rather than carve

White pumpkins with pattern drawn on in marker pen

(Image credit: Amy Johnson)

Save yourself the mess and potential trip to A&E by seeking an alternative to carving pumpkins. More and more pumpkin patches are offering an array of alternatively coloured pumpkins and squashes, such as white! These are perfect to draw on with a permanent marker pen, to create a colourful hand drawn design.

This is a great way for kids to get involved without having to use sharp instruments for carving. Maybe washable pens are best for very young kids, to save them staining hands with ink.

16. Make a spooky picture gallery

Black halloween pictures on wall with pumpkins

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Make your own Halloween silhouette framed pictures. Cut creepy images and phrases from black paper and mount on a white background. If drawing out your shapes before cutting, don't forget to draw them back-to-front on the reverse of the paper. Pop your pictures in black frames and display on the wall or on a mantelpiece.

17. Welcome Trick or Treaters

Hello Pumpkin Halloween doormat on patterned tiles

(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

Welcome visitors with a cute custom Halloween doormat. You can make your own using a Cricut cutting machine and vinyl to create a stencil. Secure in place with masking tape and use black acrylic paint and a stencil brush to fill in your design. Leave to dry for 24 hours, then seal with spray varnish. View the full how-to at Hobbycraft.

18. Shine terrifying tea lights

Spooky lanterns made from glass jars with spider and bat decorations on a black table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you can't handle the mess of carving pumpkins, try placing flickering tea light candles in empty clip-top jars. Give them a Halloween twist by using PVA to glue orange tissue paper on the inside of the jars. Add creepy shapes like bats and spiders in black paper to create spooky silhouettes.

Place anywhere around the house, inside or out, to encourage a little All Hallow's Eve atmosphere. If you have children or pets, consider using LED candles to avoid accidents.

19. Style an autumnal tablescape

Halloween tables cape with green polka dot table linen, dried flowers, candles and pumpkins

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sophie Allport)

Creating breathtaking tablescapes for all occasions is a massive trend, so why should Halloween be any different? Carve out pumpkins and gourds and fill with bouquets of dried flowers in autumnal shades. Mount on log slices to elevate and arrange on a table runner among candles.

Place mini gourds in mugs as part of place settings. Why not write your guests' names in gold pen on each pumpkin for them to take home?

20. Hang bewitching bunting

Pumpkin Halloween bunting against brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Who doesn't love a bit of bunting? It's easy to whip up and can come out year after year. Cut triangles from black and white card. Use half an apple and orange paint to print pumpkin shapes in the centre of each flag. Once dry, paint on stalks in green paint.

Cut eyes and a mouth from black paper and stick to the pumpkin faces. To hang your bunting, attach string or twine to the tops of the flags using craft tape.

21. Style a seasonal focal point

Seasonal table halloween decorating

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Pile a colourful clutch of pumpkins, squash and gourds into a table for understated style; against a white tablecloth, the burnt amber hues will shine. Fun decorations and tasty treats such as these sweet candies will keep trick-or-treaters happy.

22. Paint a pumpkin

Painted pumpkins standing on pile of books

(Image credit: Future plc/ Graeme Ainscough)

Not a fan of carving? Painted pumpkins are just as effective, especially when contrasted with worn wooden knick-knacks on a reclaimed dresser. Simply paint on your funny or scary face, then mix and match with different shapes and sizes of pumpkins for an attractive seasonal display.

Add a warm, autumnal touch with strings of berries along the top, intertwined with twinkling fairy lights.

23. Create creepy curb appeal

Create curb appeal halloween decorations on house

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

This country cottage manages a friendly ‘haunted house' feel with weathered outdoor furniture, blacked out windows and pumpkins aplenty. Fill woven planters with seasonal foliage and dress your door with an autumnal wreath fashioned from fallen leaves.

24. Light up the night

Halloween decorations hanging from stairs

(Image credit: Sainsbury's Home)

Carved Jack-O'-Lantern pumpkins are a Halloween classic, but why not opt for glitter, or plastic designs that have safety lights? Display them at the front door or along the stairs for an atmospheric twist on the traditional doorstep decoration.

If you do prefer the real thing, cut carving time in half with a quick pumpkin carving hack that uses an electric whisk to remove all those annoying stringy bits inside the pumpkin. You should have a hollowed-out pumpkin in a matter of minutes.

25. Make up your mantelpiece

Pumpkin and ghost halloween decorations hanging

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Give an uninteresting mantel a freakishly good update for Halloween by crafting your own scary decorations. White, black and orange are the perfect colours for Halloween decorating.

Make these adorable characters from leftover yarn. To make the pumpkins, use a pom pom maker to make an orange pom pom. Cut a pipe cleaner into three pieces and bend one end of a piece around the middle, then curl the other end around a pencil to bend into shape. Tie fishing wire around the end to hang.

To make the ghost tassels, cut a 10x12cm piece of cardboard. Cut a small piece of wool and place it along the length of cardboard. Wind the rest of the wool around the width of the cardboard 25 times and tie the short piece tightly around one end. Snip the yarn at one end to release the tassel. Tie another length of wool round the neck of the tassel and knot to secure, then hang with fishing wire. Add googly eyes if you wish!

26. Lay a spooky table

Dining table laid with halloween decorations and light-up pumpkins

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

Nothing creates a creepy atmosphere quite like painted pumpkins, creepy candies and flickering candlelight, so display all of this on dinner table to create a spooktacular showcase to your ghoulish guests. A pumpkin centrepiece lends itself to the occasion beautifully.


What is the best way to decorate for Halloween on a budget?

 Everyone is feeling the pinch on there purse this year, but that doesn't need you have to forgo the festivities. There are plenty of items around your house you can repurpose into Halloween decorations. 

'Part of the fun of Hallowe’en is creating some DIY decorations,' says Lucy Hood, founder of Tableday.co.uk. 'Cut out eye shapes in old loo roll holder and put a glow stick inside, when it’s dark it will look like devil’s eyes. Fill a Mason jar with cotton wool balls and paper spiders and put a green glow stick inside and they look really effective. 

'Obviously, there are pumpkins that can be cut up and candles put inside, and then if you have white candles and drip red wax on them they look like they are bleeding. It’s great fun making them and they are so easy to do.'

Halloween bat decorations

(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

How do you stop Halloween decorations from looking tacky?

This is an age old question when it comes to Halloween, while we all enjoy getting in the festive spirit the best way to avoid decorations from looking tacky is to skip the plastic and store bought confetti.

'The best rule is to avoid cheap plastic supermarket stuff,' explains Lucy Hood. 'Not only is it really bad for the environment and ends up in landfill in November, but it also just looks really obviously cheap.

'It’s so easy to make your own decorations that it’s really not necessary either. Also it’s best to avoid fake spiders’ webs if possible because they are just polyester and again not great for the environment.'

Confetti leaves made out of felt look instantly more glamorous than shiny foil. Alternatively, our paper bats or wool ghosts will all cost less to make than buying in the supermarket and a homemade approach will never look tacky. 

Stephanie Durrant
Deputy Editor Style at Home

Steph Durrant is the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home’s sister magazine, Style at Home. Steph is an experienced journalist with more than 12  years under her belt working across the UK’s leading craft and interiors magazines. She first joined the team back in 2016 writing for both homes brands, specialising in all things craft, upcycling and DIY. 

With contributions from